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Gone But Not Forgotten

November 25, 2011

What is this . . . and what is it worth to you, Margot?

Every week my kids’ preschool sends home a thick manila folder of “work” they made, completed or collected during the previous week.  Painted pictures of turkeys.  Practice numbering worksheets.  Nature walk relics.  A booger stuck to a piece of felt.
And every week I’m tormented in deciding what to keep, what to toss, what might be worthy of an ooh or ahh in 20 years, what might my kids want to mine for writing their future memoirs.   (I imagine those memoirs would go something like, My parents were saints . . . it’s hard to believe Justin Bieber was ever worshipped because now he looks like Dom Deluise . . . I remember President Ryan Seacrest when he just hosted bad TV shows . . . my mom closed the potato chip bag with a pirate eye patch because she ran out of chip clips.  The End.)  

See?  I’m saving photos for them, just in case.  Be assured, the Angie Archives is in tip-top order.

This reminds me of something.  Of a few things I am missing.  Um, excuse me?  Yes, those things belong to me.  I worked hard to make/complete/collect them.  And they are no where to be found.  What do you have to say for yourself, Marcia?    


That’s why I’m now counting down the Top Ten Most Important Things That Probably Once Existed But Were Not Discovered In The Marcia Archives.

When you read countdown lists, isn’t it funny how you just automatically start air-guitaring to that Europe song The Final Countdown?  Oh, okay, I don’t either.

10.)  More phenomenal drawings I made of people in colonial garb.  Special bonus:  drawings of people in colonial garb who earned me another poster contest win.  The Holy Grail:  a drawing of George Washington resembling the one that got Marcia Brady into that pickle with her principal and nearly cancelled her slumber party.

9.)  Photos of me wearing Wonder Woman Underoos like a costume.  Whether battling the forces of evil on my swingset or just sitting around the house playing legos, I know it happened.  If it happened, there must be photos.

8.)  Photos of my brother’s neighbor friend Jesse.  He was a fixture in my childhood.  I swear he didn’t just live in my mind.  He was real — I even found him on Facebook.  But according to our family’s photo album, he never existed. 

7.)  Drawings of the logo I designed in 6th grade with my friend Kelley.  It was to be used to promote our future business, S & L Pet Supplies.  The S was a cat’s tail, and a bird was perched on the LThere might have been a Beagle in there somewhere.  It was marketing genius!  Without it, we never achieved our dream of designing and selling hamster towns.

6.)  My 1st grade class assigned drawing of what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I drew a waitress.  A waitress wearing a French maid uniform.  Much like an actual waitress in a French maid uniform, the drawing was beautiful, yet tragic.  And I was holding a tray of peanut butter sandwiches that looked sublime.

5.)  Evidence of my Italian lineage.  And evidence that I’m from a mob family placed in the witness relocation program.  Why else would our names be Tony, Angela and Marcia (Mar-SEE-uh)?  And where is the paperwork showing our real last name is Garcia and my dad Larry was once Alessandro

4.)  Photos of my pet hamster Cleo, my parakeet Sylvester, my cockatiel Lucy and my chameleons Willy and Wilhelmina.  They were fixtures in my childhood.  I swear they didn’t just live in my mind.  They were real — I even found them on Facebook.  But according to our family’s photo album, they never existed.

3.)  Photos of me and the neighborhood kids playing on the Black Banana.  I’m smelling yet another Electric Car Conspiracy cooking here.  (Combined with a whiff of sunbaked plastic.)  Because if you knew you could make a backyard water slide yourself, using gardening tarp and other simple items you’d find in a Home Depot, what would that do to the billion-dollar Wet Banana industry?  Exactly.

2.)  My beloved “Sweet Cheeks” puppy dog shirt.  Yes, it was the source of pain when my brother cruelly informed me that Sweet Cheeks didn’t mean the cheeks on your face.  But I proudly picked out the iron-on myself in Richman Gordman’s iron-on department — back when iron-on departments were as prevalent in stores as today’s cart sanitation wipes.  Like the Dukes of Hazzard General Lee shirts, Sweet Cheeks is classic vintage iron-on.  Albeit porn.  

Here's the proof. Where's the shirt?

What do you expect me to do with these now?

1.)  My old sticker book.  When I asked the woman at the Barnes & Noble bookstore last month if they carried sticker books, “You know, the kind with the slick cardboard pages, like they had back in the day, and you can place stickers on them and then take ‘em right off . . .  she looked at me like I was coming off of a 48-hour meth binge.  Then when I further informed her, “. . . there were pages separated by categories like Puffy, Sparkly and Scratch-and-Sniff. . . even built-in folders to store the extra sticker sheets. . . !”  she fidgeted nervously like she might call security.

73 Comments leave one →
  1. david kreiman permalink
    November 25, 2011 10:15 am

    Great stuff! I am the anti-pack ratter and I cringe every time my kids come home with their backpacks, since I know my wife won’t throw things away like I would. You have to pick and choose those things they make that are uniquely them and just garbage the rest. When all is said and done, I believe that they should have one bankers box of stuff which covers their entire elementary school career! And don’t get me started on the large project stuff that only fits under a bed!

    • November 25, 2011 10:29 am

      Thanks, David – I appreciate the advice! I couldn’t agree more. I’m not a pack rat either. And I loathe storing away a random piece of construction paper with five haphazard lines on it just because it’s the first drawing my son ever did. I usually put that stuff straight in the “round file.” Yet, it does feel unsettling to think that in ten years I might want to caress that drawing and carry a scrap of it in a locket around my neck.

  2. November 25, 2011 10:59 am

    Still have my sticker book. But my mom gave away all my coolest toys. I wonder if the resentment will ever fade.

    • November 25, 2011 11:10 am

      Really? I bet you could get good money for that on Craigslist. At least, I know I’d pay good money for one of those. When I told my sticker-obsessed daughter about them, she thought I was telling her a fairy tale.

      It’s certainly hard to get over that level of parental betrayal.

      • Emm permalink
        March 11, 2012 10:42 pm

        I still have my sticker book also…but the better ‘book’ was an old photo album with the clear peel back pages. I preferred those because the stickers could stay on the sheet, Lol…pristine and un-used.
        How about the oily or touch stickers? I LOVED those and the hologram stickers were the shizzzzz. I remember staring at one for maybe a good half an hour.
        I am a pack-rat. I even have all my old Barbies, complete with accoutrements. That said, I wanted to be a Barbie clothing designer/toy designer when I grew up. I’m still a wanna-be designer albeit for womens clothes. ;)

      • March 17, 2012 9:38 pm

        Photo albums for the full sticker sheets??? You were seriously hard core, Emm. I dig that. Okay, I know this will sound completely wackadoo but I get a jolt of flashback whenever I see any kind of metallic sticker — bike reflector, fire fighter promotional badge stickers, whathaveyou. I immediately Quantum Leap back to a 1982 K-Mart checkout stand where I’m whining for a sheet of sparkly unicorn stickers. It’s somewhat unsettling that sticky foil has this effect on me.

  3. November 25, 2011 11:08 am

    Those stickers! I had those stickers. I miss those stickers.

    I don’t have much memorabilia from my childhood. When my mom and dad were moving to a new house, my mother gave me a hefty garbage sack filled with barbie doll heads and barbie doll bodies. The heads did not match the bodies. All the hairs on the heads were cut off and most of the bodies were painted with nail polish. Sadly I did not keep these.

    • November 25, 2011 11:46 am

      I had a Barbie “go Native” once, too . . . egad, how off-color of me to say. Most of my Barbies my mom saved for my kids to play with. It’s interesting to see Pink & Pretty Barbie now in dreadlocks.

      What I miss most is my old clothes. I’d give anything to have either my Sweet Cheeks shirt or my Miss-Piggy-roasting-marshmallows-by-the-campfire shirt (aka Camp Kissy-Kissy).

      I can look at almost every one of those S&S stickers and remember exactly what they smelled like. Why did the snowman smell like aniseed?

  4. November 25, 2011 11:32 am

    As you know, I have sadly parted ways with both Midnight and Dallas (and all of my old Barbie collection)…it’s sad because my daughter would have cherished them. But my mom did manage to save every single scrap of paper/artwork (sans boogers) from my elementary school days, and all of my report cards. It’s so much fun to read what my 2nd grade teacher thought of me, like: “Bright, but talks too much to her friends during class”

    I don’t save much from my own kids however. I will save report cards and the occasional artwork, a little something from each year of school, but that’s it. Mostly I save handmade things they make for me for Mother’s Day.

    • November 25, 2011 12:22 pm

      I, too, am hoarding all of my Mother’s Day gifts, despite that one of them was titled “Breakfast in Bed” and consisted of a bag, a napkin and a rolled oat nut bar.

      Cute, Darla! I wish my mom saved all of my old report cards. I know at least one of them said, “Spends too much time trading stickers.” I also recall a report card comment about how I’d disappointed my teacher when she saw I’d written the word “poop” next to a suspicious pile beside the horse I’d sketched. Or maybe that wasn’t in my report card. That might’ve been just a parent-teacher conference discussion.

  5. November 26, 2011 3:44 am

    Nice post :)

  6. November 26, 2011 9:34 am

    A French waitress serving PBS’s!

    My Mom saved everything. They have just recently begun to go through my sister and mine’s ‘work’ and are painfully letting some of it go. I think they’ve hit their second wind in life, because this just isn’t like them.

    • November 27, 2011 5:09 pm

      Good for your parents! Really! But what do you mean by “letting some of it go”? For my parents that meant coming to my house, dropping a box off on my doorstep, ringing the doorbell and squealing away down the street before I could shove it back in their car. True story.

  7. November 26, 2011 2:58 pm

    I once read that Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s mother saved everything he ever wrote and every drawing he made. So, naturally, I did the same.

    Somehow, though, I don’t think my son is going to get a Presidential Library to put it all in. My excuse is, though, that he was born abroad and is a naturalized citizen. Otherwise, I’m SURE he’d get the libary. And that’s how he’d spell it, too.

    Great post!

    I had lost you on Word Press — glad I found you again!

    • November 27, 2011 5:14 pm

      Your son sounds destined for success with his own ready-made library! Maybe when I’m president of the 1980s Nostalgia Association, I can blame my mom for not allowing me my own well-stocked library.

      I’m glad you found me again, Elyse! Thanks for stopping by.

  8. rose permalink
    November 26, 2011 3:16 pm

    My oldest is 30 and my youngest is 22. I just drug a tote out of the closet last month and thinned out the keeping papers from their school days. Eventually it will get down to the size of my mother’s keeping box and they will only have 2 or 3 papers each from their childhood. Thanks for the fun read!

    • November 27, 2011 5:16 pm

      I like the idea of it all fitting in one tote! I want a storage container that’s easy to carry so I can effortlessly shove it in their cars on their way off to college.

  9. Jesse permalink
    November 26, 2011 3:52 pm

    I am for real ! Believe it or not there aren’t too many pics of me even in my own archives. It is also very possible your parents wanted no evidence of your brothers friend who was probably the equivalent of Eddie Haskell to your parents.

    • November 27, 2011 5:19 pm

      No, no, don’t take it personally! Keep in mind that there are also no pictures of my precious pet Cleo. That hamster was like a sister to me.

      I’m so glad to know we all didn’t just imagine you. Your dog Turkey on the other hand, she was definitely something of folklore.

  10. November 26, 2011 4:14 pm

    Yeah, I couldn’t get past the waitress dressed in a French maid’s outfit either. Please direct me to that restaurant.
    My wife has a GARAGE full of stuff from her mother who passed away two years ago. So my advice is: throw as much of that stuff away as you can stand. Otherwise, your kids are going to have a garage full of your (their) stuff and not know what to do with it either.
    Cold but true.

    • November 27, 2011 5:22 pm

      You might think a French Maid waitress is hot stuff until she brings you a plate of peanut butter on Wonder Bread.

      Not cold — and definitely true. My mom discovered about 3,000 saved plastic bags when her mother passed away. I don’t want my kids to have to sort through my earnestly saved nothings.

  11. November 26, 2011 9:45 pm

    You crack me up, Angie, great post.

  12. Patrick permalink
    November 27, 2011 11:57 am

    I have this sudden urge to find my old sticker books. Mine usually had dinos or animals.

    And what I wouldn’t give for an old model kit – how I loved those!

    Another great post – thanks for reminding me how much I loved my childhood and the many awesome (but like dinos, extinct) things we used to have!

    • November 27, 2011 5:26 pm

      Sticker books! And you even collected manly stickers! Nope, no puffy unicorns for you. Well done, my friend.

      My brother had a few model kits of wooden dinosaurs. Did you have those? Good stuff.

  13. November 28, 2011 3:43 pm

    Fabulous post Angie. If you toss the art you have to do it in secret. I got caught once and it was the worst thing in the world. His little face crumbled as he realized I was tossing out his masterpiece. I now have three boxes in the garage of masterpieces that need thinning out. Ugh!

  14. tracy permalink
    November 28, 2011 5:41 pm

    stop! i .can’t.breathe.
    i so get you. were we separated at birth? where are all the pictures of our pet monkey “jeepers creepers” that my sister poisoned with her pancakes for dinner night?

    • November 28, 2011 7:54 pm

      If Jeepers Creepers was as real to you as he is to me in my mind at this very moment as I read your comment . . . well, let’s just hope he went peacefully as he deserved that at the very least.

  15. mary4jva permalink
    November 28, 2011 6:19 pm

    Love this one, Angie! I still have my sticker book. Smelly stickers, puffy stickers, puffy SMURF stickers, smelly puffies, and there is a very special page of *rare* stickers that I would never trade. Still got ’em! If you want me to march right in to Barnes and Noble and show that lady what’s what, you call me, ‘kay?

    • November 28, 2011 7:50 pm

      No words can even begin to describe how I’m feeling right now. Jealous seems so understated.

      PS Smelly puffies? I thought those were an urban legend!

  16. mary4jva permalink
    November 28, 2011 6:46 pm

    This post totally got me wondering where one of my favorite childhood t-shirts got to… A lovely little number circa 1977. Picture a four-year-old in a white t with an iron-on of J.J. from Good Times on the front. Underneath it says, of course, “DYN-O-MITE!!!” I am going to have to find a picture to send you, Angie, because I think you would appreciate that sweet baby like no one else.

    • November 28, 2011 7:44 pm

      Oh please, Mary, send me that picture! If you’d read my slightly newer post published today (Happy Birthday Grab Bag), you’d see that I’m actually requesting photos of such grand fashion statements. And I even titled the segment Dynomite! Not kidding. C’mon, I’ll make you a star.

      • November 28, 2011 11:14 pm

        Angie, if you get forty of those cheesy old teeshirt photos, it would be a great book concept with the right comments. I can probably get you distribution.

      • November 29, 2011 9:40 am

        Les, that would be awesome! That seems in my ballpark of kitsch writing. Only problem is, the success of such a project would entirely hinge on my mom uncovering the lost Sweet Cheeks shirt and/or a photo that does it justice. Sweet Cheeks is what started it all. Without Sweet Cheeks, it would be nothing. Without Sweet Cheeks, I am nothing.

        Seriously though…awesome.

  17. November 29, 2011 1:50 pm

    I’m afraid to ask what Sweet Cheeks is.

  18. November 29, 2011 4:25 pm

    But what IS it?

    • November 29, 2011 5:06 pm

      My brother told me it referred to butt cheeks. Aren’t you glad now that you asked?

      • November 29, 2011 5:12 pm

        I love butt cheeks. But, and it’s a big but, as long as the butt’s not too big.

  19. November 29, 2011 6:12 pm

    [Well played, my friend.] Maybe that’s where the “sweet” comes in.

  20. November 29, 2011 11:24 pm

    I think my words were “it’s cheeks but not the ones on your face”. Ha!

    We dump our girls papers all the time. Old color books, school work, doodles, etc. We only keep the what we deem the best of their work.

    They cried the first time they found their work in the trash (Oops! sorry girls, your Mommy made a mistake!) So then I would carefully bury it in the bottom of the bag.

    Next they would see it through the liner when the bag was hanging on the doorknob waiting for someone besides me to take it out!

    So now we shred, then burn everything and flush the ashes down the toilet.

  21. January 16, 2012 1:35 pm

    Oh gosh! I loved the part about the sticker albums! I had forgotten about them, (not mine–my daughter’s). Wasn’t childhood a kick? Well, more fun to look back on, not live. I do still have some art work my son created in 5th grade (he’s 32 now). He asked me NEVER to throw it away, and I didn’t! Are you still in Broken Bow?

    • January 16, 2012 2:23 pm

      Nope, no longer in Broken Bow. Neither are my parents or any family. We’re all pretty scattered around now.

      What I would give for a sticker book. I might’ve battled moms in Target for one of those. For me, not my kids.

      • David Kreiman permalink
        January 16, 2012 2:28 pm

        I have sticker books at the abnk for our young customers. Who couldn’t love a sticker book.

      • January 16, 2012 2:32 pm

        No! You’re kidding me, David. Why can’t I find them anywhere? You better not be lying and using this as some lowdown marketing gimmick to get me to do business with you.

      • David Kreiman permalink
        January 16, 2012 2:43 pm

        I don;t know – I find sticker books all over the place but maybe not the kind you mean. The ones I have for the bank (spelled correctly this time) are just ordinary actually, but I see sticker books at Walgreens, Target, etc. But again, maybe not the same kind you are referring to.

        I am happy to send you one.

      • January 16, 2012 2:51 pm

        Awww, that’s nice of you but not necessary. I had only recently been turned down by a few places but maybe they’ve since restocked their shelves post-Christmas ;) That makes me feel better as I was starting to believe I had just imagined their existence.

  22. January 16, 2012 11:50 pm

    Great post! On the same subject, my husband is cruising ebay these days looking at old Hot Wheels track. I was thrilled to see the old Fashion Plates celebrated on another blog recently. The good old days, and the good old stuff…

    • January 17, 2012 7:56 am

      Thanks, GenX! I nearly started crying when I saw my daughter open that gift. I think I’ve played with it more than she has. Good luck with the Hot Wheels track!

  23. russelllindsey permalink
    January 17, 2012 7:11 pm

    WOW. You reminded me of a few things that are lost from MY childhood. I HAD one of those sticker books, albeit it was separated into scratch N sniff, sparkly, etc. like yours. Where is it? There is an adorable picture of me dressed up as a Shell mechanic (my grandpa owned Shell stations) for Halloween at age 2. Again, where is it? That last one I’ve looked for a long time.

    Funny the things you remember! Oh, and the pictures. It might have been people in colonial garb with you. For me, it was almost always women in huge princess (sometimes colonial) dresses. I also loved drawing houses with Spanish architectural features.



    • January 17, 2012 8:12 pm

      A Shell mechanic? That’s about the best kid’s costume I’ve ever heard of :) I wish I could believe you that you really did dress as a Shell mechanic but I can’t unless you happen to have a photo to prove it. Oh, you don’t? Yeah, I’m in the same boat.

      Spanish architecture — good for you! :)

  24. russelllindsey permalink
    January 17, 2012 9:31 pm

    Here’s the thing: My first job out of college is was in a position to deal with Shell indirectly as a client. I sure as hell wanted that picture! But nope… Don’t have it. My Mom even painted the cutest ever freckles on my face with tiny dobs of mascara. It was TOO cute and I can’t find the damn picture :D

    It DID come up in a family DVD, but no one will fess up to having the pic.


  25. January 19, 2012 9:11 pm

    My mum kinda did the opposite. I used to curse her about carrying around my old toys when we moved. Now I have a 2 year old and I have started to get them out for him to play with. Some really awesome stuff too, big old train set and duplo. Now I am super happy she kept that stuff because it saves me buying it all, has nostalgic qualities AND is much, much better quality than most the stuff you get now. I am getting to the time to start thinking about keeping & discarding stuff, not sure how I will go about it yet….

    • January 20, 2012 8:52 pm

      She sounds pretty great! My mom actually did save a lot of stuff, including my Cabbage Patch dolls, Strawberry Shortcake and Barbies and they are all a bit hit when my nieces come to visit. I, too, used to wonder what the heck she was thinking hoarding all of that stuff. But (sigh) the sticker book…that would’ve made me life whole again.

  26. February 2, 2012 7:32 pm

    I too looked for a sticker book for my 7 yr old son, and none were to be found. I can say I absolutely had those exact same scratch and sniff stickers you have pictured, and it took me right back! I remember how they smelled even!

    Thanks so much for the post. I can tell we’re probably pretty close in age, and I enjoy your sense of humor. I’ll be back.

    • February 3, 2012 8:20 pm

      Yes, thank you for validating me and my perfect sniff memories of those stickers. I can look at each and every one and form a perfect memory of the way it smelled. I was actually having my husband quiz me on them. Cowboy boot? That smelled like old leather. Flowers? That smelled like soap. Snowman? That smelled like spicy eggnog.

      What I would give to clear this all so I could fill my brain with relevant, useful knowledge.

      • February 3, 2012 10:56 pm

        I know what you mean – I can remember what those stickers smelled like, but I can’t remember that my son’s hockey gear needs washed or that we’re out of milk?

      • February 5, 2012 6:04 pm

        Yes, I suffer from the same selective memory illness.

  27. April 1, 2012 8:50 pm

    Hah. I totally re-created my old sticker book. It wasn’t the same, but I remember EXACTLY the sticker book you’re talking about. I spent a mint on vintage trend scratch and sniff about six years ago.

    • April 3, 2012 10:50 am

      Holy cow! This is the coolest! You are amazing! I got so excited that I about tinkled in my pants at the very sight of the puffy Gremlin one. I think I temporarily blacked out from the force of the flashback I just now had. I’m so appreciative that you shared this with me. And now I have to hate you out of envy.

  28. July 30, 2012 9:34 am

    Y’all can definitely find those sticker books in a dollar store like Dollarama!

  29. July 31, 2012 6:15 pm

    Just noticed the link to this one on your side bar…two things:

    1.) My Mom throws out my stuff gleefully. I’m still traumatized over how she got rid of the green quilt my Gram made for me even after I begged her to hang onto it for me until I had a bigger place. I found it lying in the back of my brother’s truck with detritus from his kids all over it one time when visiting home. She insists she didn’t give it to him. Liar.

    2.) The song “Nancy Drew” by Tuscadero perfectly captures this angst. My favorite line is “I collected all fifty-six, and you threw them out, you’re both such pricks.”

    • July 31, 2012 6:22 pm

      1) Sounds familiar. My mom turned over a new leaf recently and every time I visit (I live 10 minutes away) I have a box of stuff waiting for me by the door. But a quilt from Gram? Come on, Tracy’s Mom! That’s blasphemy!

      2) Must YouTube this song now. I think it would be cathartic for me to hear it.

  30. September 11, 2012 8:54 pm

    After seeing you freshly pressed I am catching up on your awesome blog. I am pretty certain there is a picture of my in my underoos wearing them as a costume AND I have my sticker books. I will get all caught up before I send you the photographic evidence in case I stumble across anything else i can’t believe that I will share….

    • September 11, 2012 9:01 pm

      Thank you for reading my older posts — and please do send the photographic evidence.

      Although, is it weird that I just asked you to send photos of you in your underwear? No, because Underoos were not underwear; they were costumes! I want to shout it from the rooftops! They were COSTUMES! I had special powers when I wore mine, I just know it.

  31. January 5, 2013 4:51 pm

    I have my sticker books! I ended up putting them in photo albums with the sticky pages and clear film covers. I have no idea what to do with them and am scared that they still smell. ( what ARE they made of???)

    • January 10, 2013 5:08 pm

      They still smell! Oh my God — you’ve got to bottle that and sell it. It might solve the energy crisis, at the very least. Cheers to your preserved sticker book!


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